LeBron James’ first season with the Los Angeles Lakers certainly did not go as planned.
However, throughout the 2018-19 NBA season, Kobe Bryant spoke on several occasions, providing perspective on the struggles of the team.
Bryant knows a thing or two about being the biggest sports star in Los Angeles and he has seen some things from James in his first season.
In a recent interview with Sirius XM discussing the Mamba Sports Academy, Bryant elaborated on the issues James had. And while Bryant said at the time he had not spoken to James, he did mention the expectations of Lakers fans, via Sirius XM:
“The thing that maybe caught him off guard was just the market. Like I said, fans here don’t play. No, they don’t play. I know because I was dealing with it when I had Smush [Parker] and those guys. I’m looking around like, ‘Dude, what you want me to do?’ And L.A. is like, ‘It’s your fault, figure it out. We don’t want to hear that. We need a championship. The buck stops with you. Figure it out.'”
Bryant may have a valid point about James. This is likely the highest expectations James has ever had from a fanbase without any of the sympathy that came with the Cleveland Cavaliers faithful. Unlike many other NBA stars, James had no ties to Los Angeles before coming here, so fans are far less likely to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Perhaps Bryant should reach out to James to discuss exactly how to deal with the high expectations that Lakers fans have. If not, James needs to figure it out quickly or it could be a long 2-3 seasons in Los Angeles.